Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 26

This Week

Dear Parents,

We were all fascinated by the way attempts to overcome hostile situations on a global scale featured in our assemblies this week. It was a great privilege to welcome Mr Ian Cliff, an alumnus of our school and of Hampton School to talk to the boys about his life and work in assembly on Monday. Mr Cliff is nearing the end of his career with the Foreign Office, having spent much of his time as a diplomat representing the United Kingdom’s interests abroad in countries as diverse as Bosnia to Sudan, along with two separate stints based at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He and his wife, also a career diplomat, are now largely based in Brussels and are heavily involved in the work being undertaken at present around Britain’s exit from the European Union. Mr Cliff was fully on board with our assembly theme of ‘hostility’ for this half term and he had some truly excellent points to make regarding it.

As I am sure you can appreciate, it was fascinating and a real honour to have such a distinguished guest come and talk to the boys and staff. I recognise our assemblies are often very good when there is some sort of story, or clear narrative, sitting at the heart of each one. Mr Cliff was no exception in that regard. He used the topic ‘From Denmead [our former name, for those who do not know this] to Diplomacy’ to highlight how well set up for his extraordinary life, responding to all sorts of international hostile situations, he felt he had been due to the education he had enjoyed as a boy at our school. Many of Mr Cliff’s fondest memories centred upon Mr James, Denmead’s first Headmaster (or ‘Mr Jam Pot’ as he explained to us he and his contemporaries used to call him). At the conclusion of Mr Cliff’s assembly, the poignancy was not lost on anyone – boys included – that the address in which Mr James featured had taken place in the hall at the Prep named in his honour.

Our consideration of the theme ‘hostility’ continued in assembly on Wednesday as Mrs Grove led us through an excellent summary of the background to the establishment of the United Nations, which of course was a pertinent link to Mr Cliff’s address. Times of course have changed a great deal since the League of Nations was set up following the First World War. From an historical perspective, Mrs Grove highlighted the differences between the people who set the League of Nations up and the great variety of people who lead the countries that make up the United Nations today.

We held our final Pupils’ Informal Concert for the academic year on Wednesday afternoon. There was, as is usual now, a large number of boys performing and an excellent selection of pieces played in a really accomplished way. We made history ourselves on Wednesday as Harriet Dumbrell, the first ever girl from Pre-Prep to perform, played a beautiful piece on the piano. Miss Bee and I shamelessly promoted the soon to be upon us Hampton Prep Proms and Picnic, our major musical extravaganza of the entire year due to take place on the evening of Friday 15 June. We will be running the ‘Best Decorated Hat’ competition again this year and there are two categories for parents: ‘Best Decorated Dad’s Hat’ and ‘Best Decorated Mum’s Hat’. There will be more to come on this magnificent event from Miss Bee shortly but in the meantime please consider this a heads up (!) now for you all to get busy with the craft box.

News of an individual boy now, that is once more quite remarkable. I mentioned Tom Clark in Year 6 and his gymnastics accomplishments in the Bulletin before. I am delighted to report that Tom was competing in the English Tumbling Championships in Telford last weekend. He completed 3 great tumbles, scoring the highest he has ever achieved in a competition and came home with a silver medal. We are all extremely proud of his achievements.

No tumbles on the dance floor or indeed down the steps of the Richmond Hill Hotel late tomorrow night I hope, as we all head home after what will I am sure, have been a tremendously successful Parents’ Association Ball. This is always a very elegant affair and the members of staff that you, as parents, have kindly invited are looking forward to being there. It will be fancy frocks, polished shoes and sharply knotted bow ties at the ready I am sure; all my colleagues and I have to do now is figure out how not to let the side down and what we are going to wear…!

Have a great weekend,


Tim Smith


Sports Bulletin

Finally, it feels as though we have some momentum when it comes to the Cricket season and as a consequence it has been a really busy week.

On Saturday both the U11 A and the U10 A played a fixture against Newland House, with one win and one loss. The U11s were undone by some terrific fielding from the opposition and letting a little bit of panic set in when they were chasing the runs. All learning curves and four days later they certainly showed that they had learned their lesson with a great win against TPS.

The U10s won a close match by 4 runs. The particularly pleasing aspect of this match was that four new players were brought into the team to replace four experienced and established players who were unavailable at the weekend. They certainly held their own and were in no small part a reason why we won the game. This made selection for Mondays fixture against St. Benedict’s all the more difficult.

It was a late start and a long away trip on Monday but as a long standing fixture on our calendar and as a school that always gives us a good game, I feel as though the journey and the late return is always worth it. Monday was no different. I made my difficult team selections and they were further hampered by some unfortunate boys falling sick on the day, but two great matches ensued.

The B team won with a little in the tank and all the boys got to bowl and contribute with the bat. The A team fell just 7 runs short but as they were a man down due to illness, it was a really good effort.

On Tuesday all the boys in Year 4 got to play against Newlands House. In this age group we still play pairs cricket so it is guaranteed that all boys will both bowl and bat. I spoke to Mr Arnold after the fixture and what really pleased him were the amount of boys playing pull shots, which they had been taught in the previous games session. Another example of how knowledgeable and effective our coaching provision has become as a team. There were victories for the A ,B and D teams with the C team game tied.

On Wednesday the U11s and the U10s put out two teams each against TPS. The A teams were playing 20/20 with the B teams playing Pairs. For the U10s this was an ideal opportunity to filed some of the boys that had been to this point playing in the C team and it was great to see them perform and show off their development in a higher standard of match. There were four fixtures in total that day and we won all four. Of note was Ben Aldous who scored a half century for the U11 A team.

Today sees two U9 teams play against TPS and Mr Richards and I will be taking the U8 C and D team to St. Piran’s. As I have mentioned in previous bulletins I am always attempting to increase the amount of games on the calendar for the C and D teams, which is not always easy. However, today we have been lucky enough to secure this fixture specifically for these boys. It is a long trip but in my mind very much worth it and I am really happy they are getting this extra opportunity. I hope the exciting bus journey and what always proves to be an ‘epic’ match tea only adds to the enjoyment of the day for these boys.

Next week we play against Surbiton High in every single age group, as well as an U11 A and B fixture against St. Benedict’s on Monday evening. This is a 3.15pm start and will be held at Hampton School. If the sun is shining like this and you are partial to watching a spot of live Cricket, there could be worse ways to spend your Monday evening, so pop down.

Have a great weekend.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Harvey Cooper and Theo Clayson (Both 6J) English: For writing a thoughtful and powerful speech, delivered in front of an audience with passion, emotion and presence. Well done boys!

Pre-Prep News

During Open Morning today we are proud to report the children impressed our visitors with their impeccable manners and behaviour.  We were also delighted to see former Pre-Prep pupils leading the tours around the School – although, this was tinged with more than a little sadness, as these Year 6 boys will soon be moving on to their next stage of their school careers.  What a super job they did today – thank you, boys!  Our thanks also to Mrs Powell who stepped in to help out this morning.

Two outings went off site this week and it is always very satisfying to hear so many lovely comments about the children’s behaviour on their return to school.  It was clear that they had a most enjoyable time as well as learning a great deal of information whilst on the visits.  Many thanks indeed to all the parent helpers for kindly giving up precious time to help us out.

Due to Open Morning, we did not have our ‘normal’ Friday assembly, but we intend to make the awards at Monday’s assembly instead. In other assemblies this week, we continued with the theme ‘hostility’, exploring the notion that lack of sleep often contributes to us feeling tired and emotional and, in turn, crotchety and grumpy with others.  We discussed how important a good night’s sleep is every night and discussed ways of instilling a good bedtime routine.  A good night’s sleep not only sets us up for the day ahead, but also repairs the body.

We were also thrilled that Freddie Richards (Reception) brought in a project he has been working on at home.  Inspired by the Blue Planet series, Freddie set out investigating problems around pollution in the oceans around the world.  He explained his findings in our assembly very knowledgeably – well done, Freddie!

Here is what we have been up to in class ….

Kindergarten have spent this week going ‘hopping mad’ about frogs. We have been extremely lucky to have received a delivery of tadpoles from one of our children’s Grandparents. The children have enjoyed observing the tadpoles and waiting to see the changes. We have been learning about these in the form of the ‘lifecycle of a frog’ in a variety of ways and media. We started by making a lifecycle wheel and, by the end of the week, the majority of the children put all their information into a lifecycle booklet – some of them adding their own narrative, which has been lovely to read. We have also been keeping a close eye on our caterpillars that have now transformed into ‘chrysalises’.  As they are now ready for the next stage in their cycle, we have moved them into their hatching habitat and we eagerly await their development.

The children have enjoyed making their own frog masks, hats and frog puppets using a variety of different methods to assemble them (using staplers, glue and sellotape). They took their time to carefully cut out the parts needed in order to complete the task. It has been a real joy to see them use these in their role-play. Imagination has been a key part of our week as we have observed the children building their own ‘bug hotels’ and using ‘talking tins’ to communicate their ideas to each other.

We have visited the sound ‘z’ this week and have been discussing words that both begin and end in this, such as ‘zoo’ and ‘buzz’.

Our topic next week will be ‘Oliver’s Milkshake’.  We look forward to exploring various fruits and discussing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet. This links nicely to our exercise routine as we practise for our forthcoming sports day next half-term.

This week in Reception we have really made the most of the sunshine by taking our learning outside.  We worked together to make numbered dens, explored scientific concepts in the water tray and compared wet and dry soil in the mud kitchen.  In the classroom, our literacy work has focused around the topic of bears.  We have read plenty of bear stories, and re-told the story of Goldilocks using puppets. The children also wrote about their favourite part of the story.  In mathematics, we have immersed ourselves in shape – we sorted 2D and 3D shapes, played guess the shape by using mathematical language to describe the shapes, and went on two shape hunts! On our 2D hunt, we were interested to notice that outside the most common shape to find was a rectangle, but inside it was circles!

Continuing our bear theme next week, we are all super excited about our Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Friday.  We would love the children to bring in their bears, and just to add to the excitement we are making it a Pirate Bear’s Picnic! The children are very welcome to come to school on Friday dressed as pirates (striped t-shirt and jeans will suffice!). At school, the boys will use their making skills to create hats and patches for themselves, and for their bears! What a way to finish off a fabulous half term.

Year 1 began the week with a trip to The Winchester Science Centre. We had an explosive and exciting ‘Rockets and Forces’ workshop where we learnt about pushes and pulls and made our own hydraulic rockets which we launched outside, watching them fly high in the air! The weather was kind to us, so after exploring all the scientific activities we ate our picnic lunch outside and played on the outdoor adventure playground. Afterwards, we went into the Planetarium to watch an animation all about the planets in our solar system. What a fabulous day! Thank you to our parent helpers for all their support on the day.

In English, our sound of the week has been ‘ph’ and ‘wh’. We have been writing sentences and learning about how to join phrases using ‘and’, ‘or’ or ‘but’.

In maths, we have been revising counting in groups and looking at arrays to help us with our multiplying.

Today in science, we learnt about sun safety, how to keep safe during the summer time when the weather is warm, and we designed sun safety posters.

This week in maths Year 2 have revised counting in groups, mainly of 2s and 5s. We learned that it is occasionally easier to count larger amounts of objects in groups, and looked at how sometimes when counting in groups there are leftovers (or remainders).

In English, we have focused on how to add suffixes to root words to make new words. We have also been writing reports all about our visit to the rainforest.

In science, we learned about bug hotels before designing our own for specific bugs using natural and reclaimed materials. Next week we will be making our hotels!

The highlight of our week was our trip to The Living Rainforest. We learned all about how plants and animals have adapted to living in the rainforest and saw lots of animals including poison dart frogs, pygmy marmosets, stingrays, mudskippers, goeldi’s monkeys, Asian water dragons, snakes and even a bird-eating spider! The children were brilliant ambassadors for the School, asking interesting questions throughout the visit. They clearly tired the adults out though – every adult managed to fall asleep on the way home! As ever, we are very grateful to the parent helpers who gave up their time to come along and help us for the day.

Finally, today marked the end of Mrs Sheikh’s time with us. She has been in Year 2 since March on her final teaching practice as part of her teaching degree. We have very much enjoyed having her and wish her lots of luck as she begins her career in education!

Have a super weekend!